Best Online Early Childhood Education Degree Programs of 2023

Considered one of the most rewarding careers today is early childhood education as preschool teachers get to mold and build the foundation of learners. The salary may not be at par with other average-salary professions, but the satisfaction comes from knowing that they are making an impact on future generations. The Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education gives students the privilege to participate in shaping young minds for them to become competent students and professionals later in life.

Unlike the typical education degree curriculum that focuses on teaching and classroom management, part of the training of early childhood educators includes learning trajectories, developmental science, and best practices in communicating with young learners. To help you understand what this field of study entails, this guide aims to give you all the information you need on online bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education. It will discuss how this program differs from a traditional education degree, how much this program costs, as well as what courses you can expect to encounter, among other topics.

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Online Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education Table of Contents

  1. Can you get a degree completely online?
  2. Will employers take my online degree seriously?
  3. Are online degrees recognized all over the world?
  4. Online vs. Traditional Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education
  5. How much does an online bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education cost?
  6. What are the requirements of an online bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education?
  7. Courses to Expect in an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education
  8. Things to Look for in an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education

Can you get a degree completely online?

Online education may have been viewed as an inferior alternative to campus-based learning in the past years, however, with after the pandemic, it seems this program format has earned a new reputation, especially for those seeking for convenient, flexible, and affordable PhD programs, master’s, and undergraduate degree options.

In a 2020 survey conducted by Bay View Analytics in partnership with Cengage, results revealed that over 50% of learners who had a synchronous or asynchronous learning experience during the outbreak had a more optimistic view of online education in general (Seaman & Johnson, 2021). Moreover, the majority of the same respondents also stated developing a preference for online or hybrid class formats as well as the increased integration of digital materials and technology into campus-based classes.

Meanwhile, from the point of view of academic administrators, the same report revealed that roughly 40% of decision-makers in the sector agree to an extent that offering more courses in a fully online format is something worth exploring post-pandemic.

With these points in mind, students looking to earn their bachelor’s degrees can be sure that they have the option to do it online, thanks to the growing availability of accredited programs, such as childhood education, psychology, and accredited online business management degree among many others. After all, not only is there more interest in the class format, there are also newer technologies that can facilitate it more effectively than before.

Source: Bay View Analytics, 2021

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Get personalized degree recommendations that will help you find a program that will match your goals and dreams.

The website is funded by advertising. All school search, finder, and match results, as well as featured or trusted partner programs, are for schools who pay us. Our school rankings, resource guides, or any other editorially impartial content on our website are unaffected by the compensation we receive.

Will employers take my online degree seriously?

In line with the increased interest in online education coming from students, educators, and academic administrators, online degrees are slowly becoming more accepted by employers.

According to a survey conducted by FutureLearn, a whopping 89% of employers say that they think online learning will become more common in the future (Kogan, 2021). Among the factors that can contribute to this trend are the program format’s convenience and self-paced nature. Plus, with the increasing accessibility of internet connection worldwide and the prevalence of technology that can support online education, it seems logical for more students to prefer earning their degrees this way.

Aside from the abovementioned, the same research revealed that almost 40% of online degree holders have had a positive job application experience. This can only signal that modern employers are no longer as concerned about how you earned your degree. A more important hiring decision now is whether you obtained your degree from a reputable school with accredited online programs.

online degree holders job application

Are online degrees recognized all over the world?

In 2020, global investment in EdTech reached its highest at $16.1 billion (Holon IQ, 2021). This can only mean that online education is gaining traction worldwide and that consequently, online degrees will become more accepted on an international scale.

However, in the case of early childhood education students, it is best that to be aware of the limitations of your online degree. Every country and state has its own standards and regulations not only when it comes to the curricula of post-secondary teaching programs but also in the licensure qualifications of educators. As such, while it is possible that the degree you earned will meet some of these standards, you might still be made to take additional certifications or courses before you can be employed in a school based in a different country. In this way, they can ensure that you are up-to-speed with local regulations.

Source: Holon IQ, 2021

Online vs. Traditional Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education

Studying early childhood education online compared to face-to-face has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. These range from the cost of the program and its accessibility to the overall learning experience and the opportunities available to a student. More often than not, these factors will depend on your unique needs and preferences. The discussion below will help you gauge whether an online bachelor’s degree in early childhood education will pose more pros than cons for you or vice versa.

On average, a traditional undergraduate degree can cost between $9,000 and $36,000. However, this often only covers the tuition fee charged by the school. For on-campus students, this rate excludes fees for facility maintenance, school activities, room and board, as well as transportation. Plus, there is also the matter of additional fees if you are studying at a school that is outside of your state of residence.

Meanwhile, for online students, while you may save on transportation and accommodation costs, you will most likely be charged an e-tuition rate. This covers the cost of developing and facilitating the online program. Aside from this, you may also need to purchase or upgrade your existing computer as well as invest in certain software that may be necessary for accomplishing your coursework. The major advantage to online schooling, however, is that if the program is self-paced, you might get a chance to accelerate your bachelor’s program and finish earlier than the expected four years.

Schedule Flexibility
Online degrees, particularly for those majoring in an education-related field, enjoy a more flexible schedule than those taking up their courses face-to-face. This is because online degree courses in early childhood education are accessible anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. Plus, while some programs may require you to attend classes at specified times via videoconferencing, there will most certainly be classes with asynchronous delivery. In such cases, you will be able to work on course requirements at your own pace. This makes it a great option for working students as well as those with family commitments.

School Options
Graduates of different education degrees will need to earn their teaching license before they can pursue a career in the field. As licensure requirements are different across states and school districts, where you take your degree will have bearing on where you will be able to teach. Say, for example, you are from Arkansas but you want to teach somewhere in New York. Opting for an online degree means you can take up a program based in New York even while you’re still living in your hometown.

Tech-Readiness Training
Online programs require students to use learning management systems, video conferencing tools, and messaging systems, among other e-learning solutions. That said, online students become familiar with the same tools that they will most likely need to use when they start teaching. This will help train them on the many dos and dont’s of the flipped classroom approach early on. Plus, as they know these systems from the perspective of the user than the facilitator, they have a better idea of how to optimize lessons for their students.

Is an online degree cheaper?

In the academic year 2018-2019, the average undergraduate tuition cost was around $47,419 at private nonprofit institutions and $27,040 at for-profit schools. Meanwhile, it can cost an average of $18,383 at public institutions if you reside within the state (NCES, 2019). These are often inclusive of room and board fees but exclusive of additional expenses, such as textbooks, daily allowance, transportation costs, and the like.

On the other hand, a typical online bachelor’s program can cost a minimum of $38,496 (Kerr, 2020), depending on what you major in. This makes it cheaper than the cost of studying at a private college or university when we take into account all the costs associated with studying on-campus.

While it can still be more expensive than studying at a public institution, this is only the case if your school of choice is within your state of residence. Tuition can still be higher if you opt for a school outside of your state.

Is an online degree as good as a regular degree?

With more prestigious educational institutions offering online post-secondary programs, including online undergraduate early education to online psychology PhD programs, one can surmise that an online degree today is just as good as a regular degree. In fact, educators who earn their degrees virtually may actually have more of an edge than campus-based learners.

According to a study titled “The Changing Landscape of Early Childhood Education: Implications for Policy and Practice” published in the Early Childhood Education Journal, “preparing children for such a dynamic world requires reasserting the importance of holistic child development through play-based experiences that both encourage and teach children to take safe risks and become creative problem-solvers” (Haslip & Gullo, 2017). As such, teachers will need a strong foundation not only in child development, pedagogical practice, and clinical experiences but also in understanding modern best practices in teaching. These include having knowledge of new technologies that aid a child’s learning process—something that online learners are more familiar with as they will use them firsthand.

This is echoed in a more recent study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which recommended that “teachers need to renew their skills regularly in order to be able to innovate their practices and adapt to the rapid transformations inherent in the 21st century” (Schleicher, 2020).

In the same report, they revealed that while 36% of educators have participated in online seminars and 60% took up professional development in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), there is still a higher need for additional training in these areas, particularly for those already in the workforce.

teachers with ICT training

How much does an online bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education cost?

While there is no specific data on the cost of a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education would cost, online bachelor’s degrees have average program tuition fees that fall between $38,496 and $60,593 (Kerr, 2020). These cover all the costs of the program, including the development of the online program, maintenance of learning management systems, and the like.

However, excluded from this average cost are the equipment and software solutions that you will need to access your course modules and submit class requirements. For some, requirements such as personal computers, internet connection, as well as headphones may already be available. For those who do not, you may want to prepare a considerable budget. The good thing about this is that once you purchase these items, you will not have to spend a hefty amount on them every semester.

Is an online bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education degree worth it?

An online bachelor’s degree in early childhood education can lead to fulfilling jobs, such as becoming an elementary school teacher, preschool director, or childcare center administrator (PayScale, 2021). In addition, most teachers with a focus on this particular aspect of education receive good compensation with a starting salary range that falls between $38,342 and $47,498 (, 2023). These factors make obtaining a degree in early childhood education well worth your investment.

Aside from the salary waiting for you, this sector is also known for having some of the lowest unemployment numbers across professions. Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that early childhood education majors have an unemployment rate of 1.76% during the pandemic, which is twice as low as the national unemployment rate before the outbreak (U.S. Census Bureau, 2020). This only goes to show that those who choose to pursue this career are sure to find jobs upon graduating.

Source: PayScale, 2021

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The website is funded by advertising. All school search, finder, and match results, as well as featured or trusted partner programs, are for schools who pay us. Our school rankings, resource guides, or any other editorially impartial content on our website are unaffected by the compensation we receive.

What are the requirements of an online bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education?

Every university or college has its own requirements for admission to an online bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. As such, it is best to inquire with your prospective school’s admissions office about what documents you will need to submit along with your application. However, as a standard, most schools will require the following from aspiring early childhood educators:

Admission Requirements

  • Documentation of Secondary Schooling. When applying to any postsecondary program, you will be required to show proof that you have either finished high school or have acquired the necessary number of credits to qualify for further schooling. These could include a high school diploma, a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or a home school completion certificate.
  • Transcript. Submitted alongside your documentation of secondary schooling is your school transcript. Ideally, your grade point average (GPA) should be above average especially as you are expected to help kids with their schooling in the future. On average, schools require a minimum GPA of 2.0, however, this varies from school to school.
  • Standardized test scores. There are schools that require you to submit your American College Testing (ACT) or Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores. For aspiring early childhood teachers, it is ideal that you have an above-average score overall but in some cases, admissions officers may pay more attention to your English or Writing and Language scores. Keep in mind, however, that since the pandemic, there are also schools that decided to make the submission of ACT and SAT scores optional. You may still choose to submit them as it can still be beneficial in the admission process but opting not to submit them will not harm your chances of getting in.

General Requirements

  • Strong communication skills. Early childhood educators need to communicate with kids clearly when teaching them. As such, it is important for you to be able to choose the right words and use proper body language to make sure your young learners will understand the lessons as best they can.
  • Creativity. Studies show that 85% of educators who emphasize creativity and transformative technology use in learning see more student engagement in preschool and K-12 students (Saad, 2019). As such, teachers also need creativity to be able to come up with such teaching strategies. It also helps to come up with imaginative ways that will help kids exercise critical thinking and increase knowledge retention.
  • A natural affinity for children. As this field will require you to work with toddlers and school-age kids, it is pertinent for you to have a natural affinity for children. You must know how to interact with them, understand their different habits and quirks, and the like in order to determine how to best engage them in class.
  • Patience. Perhaps the most important skill for aspiring educators is patience. As you are dealing with kids, there is a good chance that you will encounter rowdy kids, temper tantrums, as well as children with learning difficulties. In such cases, you will need to effectively address the concerns while keeping your cool.

What are the Technological Requirements of Students for Online Learning?

There is a good chance that you do not have to visit your school campus at all if you decide to take your degree in early childhood education completely online. In this case, you will not have access to certain resources that you otherwise would if you took up an on-campus or hybrid program. That said, online learning will require you to prepare certain hardware or software so you can access your coursework as well as attend online classes. Among these include:

  • Laptop or desktop computer with a processor of 2.4GHz or faster and at least 4 GB of RAM
  • Good quality webcam, headphones, and microphone for those who will be participating in synchronous classes
  • Fast internet connection with a download speed of at least 5 Mbps and an upload speed of at least 1.5 Mbps
  • An updated antivirus software
  • An updated web browser. Please note that some schools may have required browsers
  • An office suite that can support word documents, spreadsheets, and presentations
  • Course-specific software solutions such as learning management systems (LMS) for education

Source: Gallup, 2019

Courses to Expect in Online Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education

Online degree programs in early childhood education offer more or less the same courses as traditional degree programs. After all, the curricula for both types of programs are based on standards set by the state as well as by industry regulations. Among the core courses that you can expect to take include:

  • Child Development. As early childhood educators will focus on learners as young as two years old to school-age kids, it is important that they know about the child development principles. This course helps them understand the impact of different learning environments and methods, how to detect and handle kids with special conditions, as well as how to carefully guide them through the learning process.
  • Behavior Management. This course places emphasis on a child’s developmental stages as well as behavior management strategies. This enables educators to help children self-regulate any problematic behavior as well as overcome learning difficulties before they become difficult to address.
  • Classroom Management. Knowing how to command a classroom is among the top technical skills that teachers must have (Zippia, 2021). In this course, students learn not only how to formulate classroom management plans but also how to manage conflicts and actively engage students. Often, this course also tackles different teaching strategies that will help them foster a healthy learning environment for kids.
  • Curriculum Development. This course tackles learning theories so that educators understand how children respond to different learning material and lesson progressions. This allows them to effectively plan curricula that adhere to best practices and industry regulations while ensuring that students will get the most out of each class.

Source: Zippia, 2021

Things to Look for in an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education

When selecting an online program in early childhood education, there are some factors that you should take into consideration. Examples include a program’s class format, accreditation, as well as the accessibility of human contact. By assessing these factors, you can ensure that the program you choose will meet your unique requirements and preferences.

Class Format

Online classes can either be synchronous or asynchronous. With the former, students need to log in at a scheduled time and listen to lectures similar to face-to-face classes. The only difference is that this is hosted on a videoconferencing platform. Meanwhile, the latter is a class format where students log in to a learning management system or access their program modules on their own and independently complete their coursework.

When choosing a program for early childhood education, there is a good chance that you encounter both class formats. After all, there are certain teaching courses that will require real-time supervision from professors while there are other classes that can easily be understood through an LMS module. However, if attending synchronous classes will pose a problem for you, it might be best to ask your prospective school about options that they can provide you.


Perhaps among the most important factors that a student must consider when choosing an online bachelor’s degree in early childhood education is accreditation. This ensures that your chosen program or school can provide you with the quality of education that the industry requires. Among the most prominent accrediting bodies that you should check with are listed below but it is best to note that there are also certifying and accrediting bodies per state.

Accessibility of Human Contact

Recent studies show that since schools shifted to online education due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students have struggled with their learning experience (WeWork, 2021). In fact, students have reported a 14% drop in their ability to learn life skills such as team collaboration and expanding their comfort zone due to the isolation associated with online learning. This is especially concerning to those who intend to become educators in the future.

As such, even if you opt to earn your degree online, it is best if your chosen program can make interactions with professors and fellow students accessible. Ideally, your courses will include opportunities to discuss concepts and strategies with your classmates. Moreover, you should have the option to contact your professor via email, phone, or Skype in case you have clarifications about lessons.

difficulty getting life skills

Find the Right Early Childhood Education Program for You

Becoming an early childhood educator takes skill and passion. It is the ideal profession for individuals who have a knack for sharing knowledge and love interacting with kids. As such, if you are interested in pursuing childhood development careers, an online childhood education program is for you.

However, before you do embark on this journey, it is best that you find the right online bachelor’s degree in early childhood education program for you first. As mentioned in this guide, there are many factors that you should consider before making your decision. Make sure to take a look at the different specializations that a program offers and the learning environments that you will be exposed to.

Even more important, be sure to verify a program’s accreditation so you can be certain that your degree will be recognized by your prospective employers. It is also worth noting that individuals with early childhood education backgrounds may work in healthcare settings even without an online healthcare degree or its traditional equivalent. They can specifically cater to young children, such as pediatric hospitals or pediatric clinics, where their expertise in child development and education can be valuable.

In addition, ensuring a program’s accreditation and a school’s reputation will also be a critical factor if you plan to pursue further studies later on. An example of an in-demand academic path you can look into are a master’s in education technology You can also check out doctorate programs in educational leadership if you are looking to perform administrative duties for schools and school districts.

That said, at the end of the day, it is important to be thorough when it comes to choosing the program for you. In this way, you can make the most of the money and time that you will be investing in earning this degree.



Find The Best Degree Match

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The website is funded by advertising. All school search, finder, and match results, as well as featured or trusted partner programs, are for schools who pay us. Our school rankings, resource guides, or any other editorially impartial content on our website are unaffected by the compensation we receive.